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Archery fans, bow before teen Shahenshah
- 16-year-old farmer’s son from village in Seraikela-Kharsawan crowned national champ in Hyderabad

His name has hit destiny’s bullseye. Meet the new Shahenshah of the archery grounds.

Hailing from a small village in Seraikela-Kharsawan, Shahenshah Biruily (16) became the country’s sub-junior champion on Wednesday evening at the ongoing third National Ranking Archery Tournament (NRAT) in Hyderabad.

The tribal teen of village Kuchai, who trains at the state-run archery training centre in Dugni, near Seraikela, beat Maharashtra’s Shubham Shetty in a closely fought tie (139-137) in the boys’ compound division.

Silli archers Ajanti Kumari and Madhumita Kumari won silver and bronze in the girls’ compound division at the same championship. But it was Shahenshah who stole the show.

For one, he is a paddy farmer’s son who dared to go for gold. Father Rahi tills land and elder brother Shankar drives a tractor in Kuchai.

Second, he has his gaze fixed on the larger picture. Happy about winning sub-junior gold, he is now eyeing the upcoming junior section ties in Hyderabad where he is simultaneously taking part. “Bahut accha lag raha hai, khub paseena bahaya tha. Teer theek nishane par laga. Ab junior mein bhi padak jitney ki koshish karunga (Feeling good as I had done a lot of hard work. The arrow hit the mark. Now, will try to win a medal in the junior section),” he told The Telegraph over phone from Hyderabad.

And yes, he is too modest to speak about his earlier medal CV — a gold in junior nationals in Assam last December, bronze at the first and second NRAT, respectively, held in February and March in New Delhi — on his own.

The teenager, who has cleared his Class X from Government High School in Kolebira, is also a winner of hearts at his Dugni academy. His archery mentor B.S. Rao gushed over Shahenshah’s helpful nature. “If you ask me, he’s a true champ. In his free time, he repairs the bows of fellow cadets,” said Rao.

Sharing an interesting anecdote, the mentor said: “Shahenshah also brings seeds from his home in Kuchai and sows them in our archery centre’s backyard.”

Rao added he was a “natural talent”. “He’s just 16 and has years ahead of him. Plus, he has his head on his shoulders. He knows the value of discipline.”

Accolades are already coming his way.

Former chief minister Arjun Munda and his better half Meera Munda, who are patron and president, respectively, of Seraikela-Kharsawan District Archery Association, have congratulated Shahenshah. Secretary S.K. Mohanty also praised the young archery sensation.

After the Hyderabad championship, Shahenshah, Ajanti and Madhumita will head for the national camp at Sonipat in Haryana from June 29 to July 30.

Last week, Dhanbad girl Soni Kumari and her Silli counterpart Reena Kumari emerged champions in Indian and recurve categories at the 59th National School Games Archery Championship for U-19 boys and girls in Nashik, Maharashtra.

Jharkhand, it’s raining champions.

How can the state help young talents like Shahenshah hone their skills? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com